Republican voters in Minnesota are warming up to Tim Pawlenty's Presidential bid and give him far more support than they do Michele Bachmann. Pawlenty leads the way in the state with 33% to 14% for Bachmann, 11% for Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, 10% for Herman Cain, 9% for Ron Paul, 4% for Newt Gingrich, and 2% for Jon Huntsman.
These numbers represent an increase in support for Pawlenty. When we polled the Republican field in December only 24% of Minnesota voters said he'd be their first choice. He's doing better now because he has strong support across the ideological spectrum of GOP voters in the state. With moderates he leads with 33% to Bachmann's 12%. He's strongest with 'somewhat conservative' voters who give him 36% to Romney's 14% and Bachmann's 11%. And even with the 'very conservative' voters that you would expect to be Bachmann's base he leads with 28% to her 18% with Cain finishing 3rd at 15%.
Bachmann's unimpressive showing isn't an indication that Minnesota Republicans don't like her- she is quite popular with a 68/23 favorability spread. But there's a disconnect between their liking her and their thinking she should be President, just as we tend to see for Palin throughout the country. Polling numbers we released earlier this week showed GOP voters thought it would be more appropriate for Bachmann to run for the Senate next year than the White House.
Some more notes:
-With 'very conservative' voters Pawlenty's net favorability (+65 at 78/13) is 62 points better than Romney's which is just +3 at 45/42. Voters on the far right everywhere have their reservations about Romney and it bodes well for Pawlenty that he's at least popular with those folks in his own home state. We'll see if he can take that appeal national as he becomes better known.
-We've released 5 Republican primary polls in the last week and this marks the 4th where we have found negative favorability numbers for Gingrich. His -6 spread at 35/41 represents a 39 point decline from our December poll when it was +33 at 55/22. And he now has less than half as much support as Ron Paul in the state. His goose looks like it's pretty much cooked.
Full results here